WANGARATTA councillor Don Joyce’s criticism of the city blowing its chances to host the Ovens and Murray Football-Netball League grand final has sparked an angry response from a colleague.
Cr Joyce publicly aired his frustration at Wangaratta not presenting a united front to bringing the grand final back to the city following the O and M board’s decision to keep the event at Lavington Oval.
Cr Julian Fidge accused Cr Joyce of “playing politics” and queried why he didn’t raise his concerns before the decision was made.
“Surely he could have brought the matter to council as the councillor with responsibility for sport?” Cr Fidge said.
“Why would he not bring the matter up until after the event?
“It is pretty obvious that he is well aware of the competition for the football finals, as he claims he always made a joint application when he was mayor.
“I think that Cr Joyce is playing politics, rather than working for the good of Wangaratta.
“The election is over.
“Surely Cr Joyce can now stop campaigning and do what’s best for Wangaratta rather than what’s best for Don Joyce?”
Cr Joyce has campaigned strongly for the grand final to return to the Norm Minns Oval since his previous stint on council in the mid-2000s.
In 2008, the council and the Magpies and Rovers put together a joint bid for the grand final which was rejected by the O and M board.
The Norm Minns Oval redevelopment was completed in the lead-up to the washed out 2012 AFL pre-season game and the three parties submitted another bid in the same year.
It also was rejected by the O and M board which sparked an angry response from former mayor Roberto Paino.
Cr Joyce was re-elected to Wangaratta council last October.
But the Wangaratta Magpies went ahead with a solo bid for the grand final which was also overlooked by the O and M last week.
Magpies president Col McClounan recently joined council.